Smorgasbord Health Column – Turning Back the Clock 2021 – Part Eight – Anti-Aging and Flexibility by Sally Cronin

Sixteen years ago I had a series on radio called Turning Back the Clock, which I presented in response to listeners in their 50’s and 60’s looking for rejuvenation and tips on staying young. Like me they were exasperated by the claims of the cosmetic industry that the various ingredients in their products could knock ten years off their age. I was asked to design a diet that would help reverse the signs of aging and this developed into a weekly challenge that was undertaken by nearly 100 listeners. The series became a book in 2010.

I try to practice what I preach!  And certainly so far I have managed to maintain healthy key indicators such as blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cholesterol without medication, much to the surprise of my doctor!

In my opinion the answer to turning back the clock by several years is to consider and address a number of factors which include physical, emotional and mental age markers.

Link to part to Part Seven and how attitude of mind goes a long way to making you feel younger: Here

In this post I am going to be looking at exercise in general as an anti-aging tool and then exercises to increase flexibility. I think that it is important to review exactly why it is so important for the body to move and exercise regularly.

A great start to becoming fitter is to learn how to breathe correctly and I covered that in Part Six

Our bodies were never designed to be static and the saying “Use it or Lose It” is very appropriate. If you were to leave your car parked up without moving it for months on end you would expect that certain parts would certainly rust and parts like the tyres would probably perish and be unusable. If you left your battery connected it is likely to be flat as a pancake. In short, the car would be kaput.

The same thing applies to us. Muscles wither and shrink – we accumulate fat – bones become soft and brittle and our internal systems are sluggish and unresponsive. We can suffer from depression and we certainly slide further and further down the slippery slope of ill health the longer it goes on.

Is it ever too late to take up exercise?

No, it certainly is not. Although I would recommend that if you have been sedentary for a long time that you talk to your doctor before embarking on a marathon training course, if you start out slowly and carefully, within weeks you will be feeling and looking a great deal better.

What sort of health benefits can someone expect from doing simple exercises such as walking?

As I mentioned in the post on breathing, you do not have to race around doing aerobics and playing squash to obtain the aerobic (oxygen) benefits you need.

If you are doing the breathing exercises and combine these with a walking programme that increases in intensity over a period of weeks you will be getting all the benefits you need. In fact recent research is showing that if you are not fit, it can be dangerous for some people to contemplate marathon running if their heart muscle is not as healthy as it needs to be for that sort of sustained activity.

Even moderate exercise, for example, can reduce the risk of:

  • Coronary Heart Disease,
  • Strokes,
  • Diabetes,
  • High Blood Pressure,
  • Bowel Cancer,
  • Alzheimer’s disease,
  • Osteoporosis,
  • Arthritis
  • Stress.

All these conditions are ones that head the list of the leading causes of aging, so walking is definitely up there as an exercise of choice. If you are trying to lose weight and especially if you are very overweight, walking is the safest and most sensible way to exercise to begin with.

One of the most interesting studies that I read showed a very clear connection between exercise and recovery rates from breast cancer. Results showed that women who exercised between three and five hours a week doubled their chances of a full recovery and survival. Women who were sedentary were twice as likely to die from the disease. I find that very compelling and more than enough reason to exercise daily – this must also apply to recovery rates from other cancers too, logically.

Apart from increasing bone and muscular strength it will also increase your joints range and flexibility. Perversely, doing more exercise can ease the pain of rheumatic joints and if you know elderly. regular walkers you will see what a great posture they have.

What sort of exercise programme should we be following?

Despite the restrictions imposed on us on leaving our homes, in most places exercise is permitted within an designated area in our neighbourhood.

  • Everyone should be out there every day in the fresh air for at least 20 minutes.
  • Brisk walking is the best and being slightly breathless is the point at which you will be fat burning and helping your body to lose fat and form muscle.
  • If you are currently walking for 20 minutes per day then you need to measure the distance you are walking.
  • Over the next 6 weeks raise the time you walk to 40 minutes per day and you can split that if you like.
  • Walking uphill during part of your walk will increase the intensity but the right walking speed for you depends on your age and sex.
  • Over a period of time, aim to walk at an average speed of 3 to 4 miles per hour.
  • Do not overdo it – this is not a challenge but a gradual way to increase your level of fitness, health and youthfulness over a period of weeks and not days.

How important is our flexibility as we get older?



We can maintain our flexibility and actually improve it as we get older. The main reason we get stiff as we age is because we stop moving our bodies into different positions. The body is designed to move, not stay sitting, or slouching, the majority of the time! The more flexibility and space we have in our bodies, the deeper the breaths can be which as you read in the previous chapter has so many vital health benefits.

3 simple exercises to increase flexibility


Stand with hands by your side and as you inhale your breath, raise your arms slowly until they are above your head in a straight line with the rest of your body. At the same time as you raise your arms, also lift your heels to stretch the whole body upwards, whilst on tip toe. When you exhale lower the arms slowly and the heels back to the floor it is also a balance exercise so it helps develops concentration and focus. Keep your eyes fixed on a point during the exercise. Repeat 7/8 times.

No 2.

It is important not to do this exercise if you have a chronic back problem. Also only do a gentle arch to start with and increase the height over a period of weeks.

Go onto all fours. Hands placed on the floor under the shoulders and your knees under the hips. Imagine what a cat looks like when it gets up to stretch after napping. It arches its back up into the air.

Now with the back flat, exhale and arch the spine up, dropping your head into a relaxed position. Your abdomen is drawn up to support the spine in the arched position. Pause to feel the stretch. Inhale slowly flattening the back again. Pause. Exhale; slowly arch the spine up again etc. Always work slowly. Repeat at least 8 times.

No 3.

This posture is universally recognised as one of the best to help lower back pain but again make sure that you do not attempt if you are very sore. Take it gently over a period of time.

Lie down on your back. Inhale taking your arms back above your head, exhale bringing the right knee to your chest with your hands around it, to draw it in closer. Inhale as you lower your arms back down to your side and your leg back on the ground. Exhale bringing the left knee up with hands on it…and continue 8 times to each knee. Then 8 more times with both knees coming to chest together.

Then relax and lie flat for several minutes to appreciate what you have done and enjoy the benefits of the movements and deep breathing.

Some of you may already be enjoying the benefits of yoga and already perform these breathing exercises…if not then perhaps these two charmers might persuade you…

Other forms of exercise. When you reach a level of fitness that you are comfortable with then take to another level. For some people Yoga, Tai chi are wonderful for keeping the body supple and for others tennis, squash, jogging or pehaps one of the self-defence options!

For me swimming is top of the list and it does not take long for me to get fit if I swim for 45 minutes three times a week. It is exercises virtually every muscle in the body including the facial muscles when you jump in and find the water is only 15 degrees! In the absence of that currently, I can be found with headphones attached prancing around the kitchen as I bulk prepare vegetables three times a week… rock ‘n’ roll definitely never gets old…

Dancing is also fantastic exercise provided you do not have knee problems but after several weeks of walking or swimming you may find that has improved enough to take to the floor.

To encourage you one of my favourite dance videos of a couple who are fabulous and boy does he have some moves!!

©Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2021


Thank you for dropping by and I would love to read your comments…please join me next week for a post on the youth enhancing benefits of taking care of the face and body we present to the world..thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Past Book Reviews 2020 – #DystopianSciFi -Wasteland (Operation Galton Book 2) by Terry Tyler

I read some amazing books in 2020 and I would like to share them again with you, updated with the authors most recent releases and their biography.

Today I am sharing my review from May 2020  for Wasteland (Operation Galton Book 2) stand alone sequel to Hope by Terry Tyler.

About the book

“Those who escape ‘the system’ are left to survive outside society. The fortunate find places in off-grid communities; the others disappear into the wasteland.”

The year: 2061. In the new UK megacities, the government watches every move you make. Speech is no longer free—an ‘offensive’ word reaching the wrong ear means a social demerit and a hefty fine. One too many demerits? Job loss and eviction, with free transport to your nearest community for the homeless: the Hope Villages.

Rae Farrer is the ultimate megacity girl – tech-loving, hard-working, law-abiding and content – until a shocking discovery about her birth forces her to question every aspect of life in UK Megacity 12.

On the other side of the supposedly safe megacity walls, a few wastelanders suspect that their freedom cannot last forever…

Wasteland is the stand-alone sequel to ‘Hope’, the concluding book in the two-part Operation Galton series, and Terry Tyler’s twenty-first publication.

My review for Wasteland May 9th 2020

A fast paced page turner with a plot that is a little too close to home….

We all have fears about our place in the rapidly evolving world around us that are only intensified in times of global pandemics. Conspiracies are rife about origins of disasters and combined with ever increasing surveillance and technological advances, it does not take much encouragement to imagine a time in the future when freedoms are surrendered and those in power abuse the trust in them.

Wasteland is the stand alone sequel to Hope, a book that is worth reading first however, to set the scene for this book. Following on from the growth of the mega cities and the last resort hostels called Hope Villages, those in power have more incursions planned into the freedom enjoyed by those who have chosen to live outside in the wastelands. Tolerated so far and even assisted to a degree, they now face dire consequences for not towing the party line.

We follow Rae, who has begun to have doubts about this ‘perfect’ life that has been created for her generation. Including the early indoctrination of children in government run programmes. The future is mapped out for all of them, and with big brother listening in on every thought, word and deed, it is more than a challenge to extract yourself from their grasp.

Aided by other free thinkers within the walls of the megacity, and the resistance network outside in the wastelands, Rae begins a journey into the unknown and her past.

She meets a fascinating cast of characters on her mission to find her family, each with their own story to tell that bring surprises, revelations and comradeship.  Rae joins those of them already living on the edge, in a desperate race to reach safety as the government puts into action their next phase of domination.

Apart from the people that pull you into their lives, as you read further in to the story, there is  a growing sense of dread as you are given a behind the scenes glimpse into the governments plans for those who have failed to be indoctrinated. Anyone reading the book will already be able to identify some parallels in our own world, and it is not difficult to project those into the future in 50 years time.

I have read all the Project Renova books and their spinoffs and I am a fan even though there are times when they make me feel uncomfortable. A mark of a well written novel and one I am happy to recommend.

Read the reviews and buy the book : Amazon UK – And : Amazon US

A small selection of other books by Terry Tyler

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Terry Tyler: GoodreadsBlog: Terry Tyler Blogspot – Twitter:@TerryTyler4

About Terry Tyler

Terry Tyler is the author of twenty-one books available from Amazon, the latest being ‘Wasteland’, the sequel to ‘Hope’. She is currently working on ‘The Visitor’, a post-apocalyptic murder mystery set in the same world as her Project Renova series. Proud to be independently published, she is also an avid reader and book reviewer, and a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.

Terry is a Walking Dead addict, and has a great interest in history (particularly 14th-17th century), and all things post-apocalyptic/sociological/cultural/anthropological, generally. She loves South Park, Netflix binges, and going for long walks in quiet places where there are lots of trees. She lives in the north east of England with her husband.


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed my review of Terry’s book and will head over to Amazon to check out all of her work.. thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – #Military #Romance The SEAL’s Temptation: Wounded Hearts- Book 7 by Jacquie Biggar

Delighted to share the news of the latest release from USA Today Bestselling author Jacquie Biggar.  The SEAL’s Temptation: Wounded Hearts- Book 7 – On Pre-Order for March 20th.

About the book

DEA agent Maggie Holt has been through hell and back.

After eighteen months undercover in a Mexican cartel, Maggie is broken. The kickass agent she once was, is gone, leaving her riddled with guilt and nightmares. Forced to take paid leave, Maggie accepts the offer of a vacation on the ranch of the man who’d rescued her from an almost certain death.

Frank Stein knows the signs of PTSD, he’d suffered the symptoms himself as Chief Petty Officer of SEAL Team Five. Honorably retired from duty, Frank has found peace at the family ranch and hopes it will do the same for Magdalena. Ever since he’d first met her when she was interrogating his buddy, Jared, Frank has been fascinated by the raven-haired beauty and wants the chance to see where their relationship could go.

Adam O’Connor is Maggie’s partner. He knows her. He loved her once and could again, if she’d let him in. But he’s also angry she took the chances she did by going undercover against orders. And now, things are different. She’s different.

When a right-wing militia group infiltrates the area, will DEA Agent Maggie Holt, her partner, Adam O’Connor, and ex-SEAL Chief Frank Stein be able to set aside their differences to stop them before someone dies? And who will Maggie choose, the handsome cowboy, or her charismatic DEA partner?

Head over to buy at the pre-order price: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

A small selection of Jacquie’s books

One of the recent reviews for Perfectly Imperfect

Mae Clair 5.0 out of 5 stars A Feel Good Romance!  Reviewed in the United States on January 31, 2021

If you enjoy breezy romantic reads, you’ll fall in love with this novella worthy of the Hallmark Channel. Georgina life’s dream revolves around her small start-up company, but financial setbacks force her to partner with CLO for backing. Little does she know CLO’s representative, Rhys Turner, arrives with the intent of selling her company out from under her at the insistence of his father.

From Georgina’s and Rhys first disastrous meeting—she spills coffee over his expensive suit—sparks fly between these two. This is a boy-meets-girl romance with all the squabbling and tug-of-wars you’d expect before the HEA at the end, but as always, what sets Biggar’s books apart is her gift for witty banter, clever POV, deft writing, and spot-on characterizations. Toss in an adorable puppy and some son/father issues between Rhys and his dad, and you’ve got a feel-good story guaranteed to leave you with a smile. A pleasure to read by an author who is a master at her craft!

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Jacquie : Goodreads – website: Jacquie Biggar – Twitter: @jacqbiggar

 About Jacquie Biggar

Jacquie Biggar is a USA Today bestselling author of romance who loves to write about tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women willing to show their men that true power comes from love. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!

In her own words:

“My name is Jacquie Biggar. When I’m not acting like a total klutz I am a wife, mother of one, grandmother, and a butler to my calico cat.

My guilty pleasure are reality tv shows like Amazing Race and The Voice. I can be found every Monday night in my armchair plastered to the television laughing at Blake and Adam’s shenanigans.

I love to hang at the beach with DH (darling hubby) taking pictures or reading romance novels (what else?).

I have a slight Tim Hortons obsession, enjoy gardening, everything pink and talking to my friends.”


Thanks for visiting today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.

MarySmith’sPlace – Online creative writing workshops

Great news author and freelance journalist Mary Smith​ with be conducting two online creative writing workshops 17th and 24th March.. spaces are limited but find out all the details in the post..

Mary Smith's Place

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned I’d been asked to deliver a creative writing workshop online and an online talk about the various routes to publication along with some marketing/promotion tips. I said I’d provide some further information – and here it is.

These two – free – events are being organised by Aberdeen City Council Libraries who have designed a couple of great posters to advertise the events. As live events can still not be hosted in their library building they have worked out a series of digital online events.

Participants don’t have to leave the comfort of their own homes to take part. The beauty of online events means people don’t even have to live in Aberdeen and can sign up from anywhere in the world.

However, places are limited so if you want to book a slot, don’t hang around. You can find information about the…

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Poetry Sue Vincent, #Fantasy Vashti Quiroz-Vega, #Shortstories Sally Cronin

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Cafe updates with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author is Sue Vincent with a recent review for her poetry collection Life Lines.

About the Collection.

“The pen paints the souls longing in jewel tones.”

A collection of fifty-two poems of life, love and inspiration.

There are joys for which we cannot find expression, moments that have a depth of emotion that can only be shared in images. It is here that poetry comes into its own, for the pictures we paint with words can conjure all the emotions of the human heart. From solitude to passion, from aspiration to the quest for the soul’s inner light, we seek to find ways to share our journey through life, to witness our footsteps as we pass through its shifting sands and cast a reflection on time itself. The poet is both mirror and reflection, framing the images of a human life and giving them a beating heart.

One of the recent reviews for Life Lines

Balroop Singh 5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite poetry Reviewed in the United States on February 16, 2021

Life Lines’ by Sue Vincent highlights the paths of life we traverse – from innocent laughter to the snowy lanes of life, from the depths of sorrow to the light that beckons us, from the abyss of tears to the memories that pull us out; whether it is past or present, life is woven with delicate threads that bind us into a “purpose” and inspire us to “fall in love with life at every passing day.”

Sue’s poetry flows like a steady stream that takes in all the upheavals in its stride and absorbs them, keeping the hope alive. She has a unique style of playing with the symbols that reach your heart:
“flames caress the moon,” for the glow of sunset,
“scattered motes of possibility in the darkness,” for the stars,
“two ravens” for thought and memory, “winter leaf” for self,
“heart-beat of earth” for sea,
“shadows in the glass” for joy and pain.

While ‘Flowers’ brilliantly captures the journey of a woman, ‘I’ emphasizes how the choices of life are snatched away from us unawares! ‘Door of Dreams’ exhorts us to rise from our inner world to “face the demons of today” and look beyond. There are many such poems that would inspire you to keep the flame of hope aloft. I felt ‘Sunset’ could be one of my favorites but then ‘Just One’ mesmerized me with the thoughts of how many kinds of love encompasses us. Each poem exudes an emotion, profound yet subtle.

The poems in this collection need to be savored slowly, to be re-read with sips of your favorite tea, coffee or wine. Highly recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon UK –  And: Amazon US

A selection of Sue’s books and those written with Stuart France.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UKand: Amazon USBlog: S.C. VincentGoodreads:Sue Vincent – Twitter:@SCVincent

The nextg author with a recent review is Vashti Quiroz-Vega for The Rise of Gadreel (Fantasy Angels Series Book 3)

About the book

In The Fall of Lilith, award-winning author Vashti Quiroz-Vega took readers inside the gates of heaven for a front-row seat to Lucifer’s rebellion. In Son of the Serpent, she introduced Dracúl, tormented offspring of fallen angels. Now, in The Rise of Gadreel, Quiroz-Vega is back with the next chapter in her Fantasy Angels saga—a gripping tale of hope and redemption set against the fiery backdrop of a demon’s insatiable thirst for power and revenge.

Lilith is gone, suffering the torments of the damned in hell. Satan, once known as Lucifer, endures endless agony in an earthly prison. Yet their foul legacy lives on, spread by a corrupted priesthood that uses the blackest magic to fan the flames of evil and hate throughout the world.

The former angel Gadreel, who fought and fell alongside Lilith and Lucifer, only to join Dracúl in his fight against them, is weary of war. Repenting of past sins, she wants nothing more than to be left in peace. But when a new threat to humankind arises, Gadreel is given the chance she has prayed for—the chance to earn God’s forgiveness.

Now, with the aid of Dracúl and a trio of uncanny allies—a man of air, a man of stone, and a woman of fire—at her side, Gadreel must find the courage to confront her past and forge a new future for herself . . . and the world.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Colleen M. Chesebro 5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting characters you will not forget! A soul-satisfying read!  Reviewed in the United States on February 20, 2021

The Rise of Gadreel is the third and final book in Vashti Q. Vega’s Fantasy Angel Series.

Using the blackest of magic, Lucifer, a.k.a. Satan figures a way out of his earthly prison by infiltrating a corrupt priesthood. As expected, it isn’t long before a terrible new evil invades the world.

Tired of the fight, Gadreel only wants to repent her past sins and find peace. She seeks God’s forgiveness, regretting her decision to fight alongside Lilith and Lucifer and the other fallen angels. She knows it’s now up to her and Dracúl to fight this new terror and to save humanity.

Along with a trio of extraordinary allies—a man of air, a man of stone, and a woman of fire—at her side, Gadreel finds the courage to defy her past and create a new future for herself and the world.

I’ve loved each book in this series, but Gadreel’s story was the most soul satisfying for me. The writing is riveting, and I read long into the night. The author weaves her magic by combining historical facts from the Dark Ages, along with a few tales from the Bible to create a story like no other.

Written from both the protagonist and antagonist views, the reader glimpses the battle between good and evil first hand—but not for the faint of heart. There were a few parts that made me squirm. Yet, in the end, I was sad to let the characters go. A must read unforgettable series!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

Also by Vashti Quiroz Vega

Read the reviews and buy the books :Amazon US and : Amazon UK – Follow Vashti : Goodreads – website:Vashti – WordPress – Twitter: @VashtiQV

And finally I would like to share one of the recent reviews for my latest book.. Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet.

Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet by [Sally Cronin]

About the collection

Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet is a collection of short stories with scattered poetry, reflecting the complexities of life, love and loss.

The stories in the collection dip into the lives of men and women who are faced with an ‘event’ that is challenging and in some cases life changing.

Even something as straightforward as grocery shopping online can be frustrating, and a DNA test produces surprise results, the past reaches out to embrace the present, and a gardening assistant is an unlikely grief counsellor. Romance is not always for the faint-hearted and you are never too old for love. Random acts of kindness have far reaching consequences and some people discover they are on a lucky streak. There are those watching over us who wish us well, and those in our lives who wish us harm.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US

One of the recent reviews for the book

Feb 22, 2021 Alex Craigie rated it five stars it was amazing
Until the pandemic struck, I only read full-length novels. I thought that short stories might be shallow and unsatisfying in comparison. When we went into lockdown, here was my chance to get on with some meaty reading. But I couldn’t. I’ve been restless and unfocussed and when Sally Cronin’s Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries was recommended to me I decided to give it a go. How wrong I’d been about short stories!
I loved this book. The sub heading of Sometimes bitter, Sometimes Sweet is apt as the stories covered a wide range of experiences and each one touched me in different ways. Sally Cronin understands people. Her descriptions of relationships will strike a chord with everyone who reads this collection.
The tone varies, which added to the pleasure for me: wry, humorous, sad, reflective, vengeful, sweet. Some of the characters I positively enjoyed disliking and it was immensely satisfying when they got their comeuppance, others squeezed my heart but I was never left without hope for them.
The plots were neat, too. The first in the book was delightful, very funny but also a touch macabre. Gaffer Tape managed to condense a whole novel of abuse into a few powerful pages with an ending that made me want to cheer. Animals feature in some of these tales and Sally’s love of creatures is evident in the closely observed behaviours and in their impact upon humans. The story about the badly treated guard dog was one of my favourites and left me moved by the innate goodness evident in most people.
Scattered like precious gems throughout the book are exquisite poems. These aren’t rambling sagas; they’re expertly crafted delights that follow strict rules such as the syllabic form of cinquains. The results are stunning in their ability to condense a world of meaning into a few considered words.
I’m a convert now and will be looking out for more collections of short stories by this amazing author.

My other books

Read the reviews and buy the books: :Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Sally on Goodreads:Goodreads – Blog: Smorgasbord InvitationTwitter: @sgc58 – Facebook: Sally Cronin – LinkedIn: Sally Cronin
Thanks for visiting today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday March 2nd 2021 – #Interview Liz Gauffreau, #Texaspower John Howell, #CreativeSpark D.L. Finn

A small selection of posts I have enjoyed in the last few days…I hope you will head over to enjoy in full.. thanks Sally.

The first post is from Elizabeth Gauffreau and shares a link to a wonderful interview in Envie a literary magazine, and also an excerpt from a short story inspired by her time teaching Latin in a private academy..

#Interview: ENVIE! A Magazine for the Literary Curious

Two Teachers Xeroxing Too Damn Much

Last fall, the editor of ENVIE! A Magazine for the Literary Curious reached out to me on Twitter for an interview because she had read the home page of my author’s website, and she was curious about the role that teaching Latin had played in my writing. 

Head over to enjoy the interview and the short excerpt from Liz’s short story: #Interview: ENVIE! A Magazine for the Literary Curious

The next post is from John Howell with a haiku courtesy of his two girls…and a caution about interfering in other people’s particular following the power outages in Texas during the recent freeze..

“Where you going Little One?”
“Gonna find someone who will ruckus with me. It’s Friday.”
“I will.”
“You have to move to ruckus.”
“Good point.”

It is Friday, and what a difference in the neighborhood. Now that the power is back and the temperatures have gone from below freezing into the high 70s, I have to say I’m a happy camper.

The investigations into the cause of so many homes without power are underway. Six board members of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, the industry nonprofit that operates the grid that supplies power to 90 percent of the state, have resigned. The governor has stated that those resignations do not represent the end of the issue. He has asked the Stare legislature to conduct a full investigation of the root cause of the problem and develop solutions to prevent it from occurring again. He has also called upon the Travis County District Attorney to investigate any basis for criminal charges. This situation needs to be rectified, and it will. 

Head over to read John’s forthright caution to those who meddle: Friday JohnKu – AKA – TGIF

And the final post today is by D.L. Finn writing from Story Empire about the spark that ignites our creativity as writers..

The Writing Spark

Hi SEers! Denise here, and I’m going to talk about that spark that started me writing. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment it ignited in me, but I remember my exhilaration when I wrote a short story in my first year of high school. It received an A because of the story told. My teacher overlooked the grammar.

It was during this period in high school that I fell in love with creating stories. The fresh glow that came with my first love kindled that spark. Anything became possible as the world opened up and that writing flame grew stronger. I could create any realm and characters, then live there with them, just like reading. 

Head over to read the rest of Denise’s post and share the spark that ignites your creativityStory Empire – D.L. Finn The Writing Spark


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to enjoy the posts in full.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – March 2nd 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Woodpeckers and Fish Heads

Welcome to laughter lines with some fun from around the web from Debby Gies and a joke or two to make you smile from Sally.

If you have not discovered the non-fiction books by D.G. Kaye: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK Blog: D.G. WritesGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads – Twitter: @pokercubster

Check out Debby’s column here on Smorgasbord D.G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships 2020

Now something from Sally.

A learning curve.

A customer at Morris’ Gourmet Grocery marveled at the proprietor’s quick wit and intelligence. “Tell me, Morris, what makes you so smart?”

“I wouldn’t share my secret with just anyone,” Morris replies, lowering his voice so the other shoppers won’t hear. “But since you’re a good and faithful customer, I’ll let you in on it. Fish heads. You eat enough of them, you’ll be positively brilliant.”

“You sell them here?” the customer asks.

“Only $4 apiece,” says Morris.

The customer buys three. A week later, he’s back in the store complaining that the fish heads were disgusting and he isn’t any smarter.

“You didn’t eat enough,” says Morris.

The customer goes home with 20 more fish heads. Two weeks later, he’s back and this time he’s really angry.

“Hey, Morris,” he says, “You’re selling me fish heads for $4 apiece, when I just found out I can buy the whole fish for $2…You’re ripping me off!”

“You see?” says Morris. “You’re smarter already.”


Thanks for joining us today and we hope you are leaving with a smile on your face…Debby and Sally.


Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – Tragically Unaware: The Internal World of the #Narcissist by LaDonna Remy MSW, LICSW

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2020

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 46,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts. Head over to find out how to participate: Posts from Your Archives 2021

This is the first post from LaDonna Remy MSW, LICSW of Pespective on Trauma and looks at narcissism and its potential impact on our lives.

Tragically Unaware: The Internal World of the Narcissist

When we think of narcissism, we often think of someone with an over developed sense of self-importance. Someone who is superficially charming, aggressive, arrogant, lacks empathy and who is willing to manipulate to meet his or her end goals. While this (at its core) is true it is important to recognize narcissism exists along a continuum (traits to disorder) and does not always manifest in the classic way we conjure up.

Often when I think of Narcissism; I think of many of the characters whose stories unfolded in the novel The Great Gatsby (written in 1925 by F. Scott Fitzgerald). There are many glaring examples of narcissism in the novel, but for the purpose of this writing Jay Gatsby (the novels main character) and the Buchannan’s (Tom and Daisy-supporting characters) are offered in exploration of narcissism and its existence across a continuum of characterological manifestations. All three characters were afflicted with the sense of entitlement, willingness to deceive, and carelessness toward others that make-up core components of narcissism. As noted, several of the characters from the novel could exist along this continuum. Characters so self-possessed that they did not value (or even truly recognize) the experiences, needs, or lives of others. Only taking, for themselves, to fulfill their perceived needs.

And, while this writing is not an analysis of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s cast of characters, it is a worthwhile and (in this writer’s opinion) interesting framework to better understand the many ways in which narcissism manifest. In reality, narcissism can present as overt and grandiose with its impaired host engaging in exhibitionism and exploitative acts to gain something or someone that supports (serves to mirror) their needed self-ideology. It can also present as a more covert approval seeking (seemingly vulnerable) individual who is slightly more aware of their fear of rejection. And, because it does exist on a continuum it may present in many ways including these two extremes. At its core it is powered by an intense and distorted need to feel loved (which is felt through admiration and feels valuing to the individual).

There are many reasons one would grow into developing narcissistic traits or in developing narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). These reasons (as many do) lay within the once developing child this person was. While it is true that unspeakable abuse can form this core, it can also be formed by over indulgent caregivers, caregivers who focused on performance rather than connection, and/or caregivers who unwittingly (due to their own pain) insisted their child mirror them-never allowing a separate mind (in a sense) to take shape. At its core narcissism does not allow its unaware recipient to tolerate (or lovingly acknowledge) anyone who feels threatening (rejecting) through difference or non-agreement. Along, with not tolerating difference the individual needs a consistent supply of admiration and approval. This person has a difficult time hearing they have done anything wrong (in any arena). Their fragile sense of self is deeply threatened at this seeming rejection.

What an intensely empty experience this would be. Always seeking approval in some form but never really feeling it is enough. In reality, never feeling they are enough. This is an internal feeling that the individual works mightily to never feel. In fact, the overt narcissist may be so well defended (psychologically speaking) that he or she is oblivious to this experience. Their focus is generally on another who, in their view, caused them to feel something they equate with undesirable or bad. It is this other’s (whether this is an individual or larger entity) fault. They work hard to stay away from these bad feelings (that resonate with not being enough) and can (on some level) accomplish this by minimizing, dismissing, or placing blame elsewhere. The covert (or more vulnerable seeming) narcissist will still deflect and place blame but will be less overtly aggressive in their counterattacks. They may more consciously feel self-doubt but will not truly own this. They are also working to stay away from that internal sense that exist under layers of defense.

Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchannan (from the novel) are solid embodiments of the overt narcissist. Dangerous in different ways. Jay Gatsby is presented as charming and mysterious. He has built his life and maintained his livelihood by engaging in illegal behavior. He uses his neighbor (Nick the story’s narrator) to lure Daisy (his long time love interest or obsession who can mirror or bring validity to his self-image) to his home in which he has consistently thrown lavish parties to entice her. He engages in a plot to have Daisy at seemingly any cost. If he has any feelings regarding his moral shortcomings, they are not overly present in the novel. Tom Buchannan is a more brash character. He bullies, brags, lies, has affairs and, is an over inflated personality. Further, when he learns his wife Daisy has been unfaithful (with Gatsby) he is seemingly singularly focused on having his possession back.

Daisy in some ways fits the characteristics of the covert (or vulnerable) narcissist. Her self -focus and need for approval, and importance is initially hidden behind what seems her pain around her husband’s betrayal and her love for Gatsby. This façade is shattered as the story came to an end.

The ending of the story is tragic as are many ill-fated relationships with well defended narcissists. In short summary, the final scenes of the novel include Daisy agreeing to tell Tom that she is in love with Gatsby and is leaving the marriage. Several characters are witness to this conversation. Daisy does not truly want to leave her marriage and makes a dramatic exit by running from the room where the characters are gathered. She frantically jumps into Gatsby’s car intending to drive away (not dealing with the reality of her own behaviors or even recognizing its impact on others). Gatsby follows and is in the car with her when she accidentally runs over Tom’s lover Myrtle. (A supporting character who could also easily fit onto this continuum, but that is a writing for another time). Gatsby, due to his seeming love for Daisy and her seemingly fragile nature, takes responsibility for Myrtle’s death. Myrtle’s distraught husband (George) then breaks into Gatsby’s home and shoots him as he lays floating in his pool. He (Myrtle’s husband) then kills himself.

Tom and Daisy continue, surrounded by their fine things and upcoming holiday. Careless, unaware, highly defended, self-involved people causing (in this fictitious tale) irreversible harm to others.

In reality, true narcissists (those suffering from narcissistic personality Disorder) are self -focused and do not have the relational skills necessary for genuine reciprocity. (A necessary ingredient in connected relationship). They do not feel deep wells of empathy and do not generally have the self-reflective capacity required to maintain emotionally safe (and sometimes physically safe) relationships. This said, with well skilled and intensive treatment (with a therapist trained in the challenges of treating narcissism) changes can be made. This is generally a long and difficult journey, laden with disruptions in relationship, for the individual and those who love him or her. To be very clear, while a fictional novel was utilized to provide a framework for exploration, there is very real harm that can come from relationship with a person who is suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder or is on the continuum. Often, emotional abuse (which is highly impactful to its victim) is a controlling component in relationships across the narcissistic continuum. In addition, it is highly important to recognize, danger to the physical self may exist in some circumstances. (There are many variables to this, and this is not to say that all who engage in violence toward others are narcissists, or that all who possess traits along the continuum will cross physical boundaries. This can, however, present as a variable).

For the individual involved in the relationship with the narcissist, and dependent on many nuanced factors, the journey to recovery can be lengthy. Much harm can be done to one’s self concept and they will need to work to make sense of the experiences they have had. Support is necessary as one navigates this painful process. Over time, and through reflective self-work, a stronger self-concept can grow.

Overall, it is important to note that the topic of narcissism is broad and multifaceted. This article explores minimal aspects of a vast and nuanced topic. It is intended to highlight the existence of the above noted continuum, bring understanding to the internal experience of the individual on the continuum, and its potential (and often substantial) impact on those involved. It is also worth noting that narcissism (while explored in the context of the novel The Great Gatsby whose characters’ lived lives of privilege) can exist across socioeconomic classes and individual circumstances. As always, it is important to note that this writing is not intended as treatment advice or guidance. It is offered in exploration of this subject matter.

Lastly, I do want to offer potential resources for those who may wonder if they are in a relationship with someone who is on the narcissistic continuum, or who has made the (generally highly complicated) decision to leave the relationship. As noted, this can be a long journey and gaining a better understanding, informed support, and resources in the event of escalated crisis are important pieces of this process.

1) Narcissist Abuse Support Organization

2) Thrive After Abuse on-line Group

3) The National Domestic Violence Hotline

Copyright Protected :© 2020 LaDonna Remy MSW, LICSW. All rights reserved.

Professional Disclaimer: It is important to recognize that all information contained in the Perspective on Trauma Blog is informational, and is not intended as a substitute for clinical care. It is not possible to provide informed care through web content, as an informed treatment relationship cannot be formed. If you or a loved one is in need of care, it is important that you access this care from your own care provider.

Agreement of Use: In consideration for your use of and access to the Perspective on Trauma Blog, you agree that LaDonna Remy MSW, LICSW is not liable to you for any action or non-action you may take in reliance upon information from the blog. As noted, it is not possible to provide informed (personalized care) through blog content. It is your responsibility to seek individual clinical care from your own provider, who will know or learn your specific circumstances, should care be needed.

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About LaDonna Remy MSW, LICSW

This Weblog (blog) is dedicated to providing information, insight, and informed thought into the difficulties inherent in navigating traumatic event, loss, familial pain, and unexpected life circumstances. I have worked as a trauma therapist for the last 21 years and have met many courageous individuals who have worked to navigate these exceedingly difficult areas. It is this experience that leads me to want to share, not only about the impact of trauma, loss, and familial pain, but the very real-life changes and forward movement that can and do occur.

The strength and courage of the individuals, I have had the fortune of working with, lends validity to the healing process. It is my hope that the writing shared here will provide information, insight, and provide or reinforce, belief in the healing process.

Connect to LaDonna: Blog Perspective on Trauma – Facebook: LaDonna Remy MSW – Instagram: LaDonna Remy MSW


Thanks for visiting and I hope you will head over to LaDonna’s blog to read other posts in her archives.. thanks Sally.